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Karnataka govt’s new Independence Day ad sans Jawaharlal Nehru’s pic sparks row, Congress says BJP action ‘pathetic’

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The opposition Congress party in Karnataka has criticised a government-issued commercial that was intended as a homage to independence warriors and released in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign. Rather of using Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, the commercial features Vinayak Savarkar, the founder of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, who is dubbed Revolutionary Savarkar.

Also, READ: 14 August 1947: 75 years of India- Pakistan’s Partition- In Pics

Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah referred to current chief minister Basavaraj Bommai as a “RSS slave,” while AICC national secretary and state in-charge Randeep Surjewala said that the BJP’s animosity for the country’s first prime minister had reached its pinnacle.

“Nehru will survive such pettiness. CM Karnataka, desperate to save his job knows what he has done is an insult to his father S.R. Bommai and his father’s 1st political guru M.N. Roy, both great Nehru admirers, the latter being a friend as well. Pathetic this is,” Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary, communications, said on Twitter.

Siddaramaiah, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, tweeted a series of attacks on V D Savarkar, whose image appears in a government advertisement, saying that Savarkar was a “stooge” of the British government in order to stay alive.

“Unending hatred for India’s 1st PM and Nation builder, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has reached its zenith. Bommai Government stoops to the lowest by denying his very existence,” Surjewala said in a tweet..

“On the 75th Anniversary of Independence, it reflects the character and vicious thought process of present day rulers,” he alleged.

“When we thought slavery ended with the British gone, CM of Karnataka Bommai proved everyone wrong by showing that he is still a slave to RSS. Not including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the list of freedom fighters in today’s govt ad shows how low a CM can go to save his chair,” he said.

The ex-chief minister reminded Bommai that Nehru, even while serving a nine-year sentence, wrote letters and books to encourage people to join the liberation cause, “Looks like RSS is sad that Nehru did not write apology and mercy petitions to British like Savarkar.”

“By omitting Nehru from the list of freedom fighters, Bommai has humiliated the entire nation in front of the world. Slow claps to Basavaraj Bommai for giving an opportunity to the rest of the world to mock India,” he said, as he demanded the chief minister to tender an apology to the entire nation.

In honour of India’s 75th anniversary of independence, the state of Karnataka released a public service announcement honouring the lives and legacies of some notable freedom fighters from both inside the state and throughout the country.

Claiming that the RSS hated Nehru because he had not only vociferously opposed its communalism and its support to “murder” Mahatma Gandhi but had also banned it, Siddaramaiah asked, “But, what is wrong with you? Mr Bommai?”

“Bommai govt’s ad clearly shows that RSS does not have anyone from its organisation to show as freedom fighters other than Savarkar who pleaded with British officials and acted as their stooge for his survival. This display of insecurity has exposed the true role of RSS in the freedom movement,” he said.

Citing the arrangement of pictures of the national icons in the advertisement, Siddaramaiah said, “Savarkar, who pleaded with British officers to get himself released from the jail, gets a position in the front row. But, Baba Saheb (Ambedkar), who fought for freedom by being the voice of marginalised sections, gets placed in the last row. Blatant display of untouchability by Karnataka BJP. Sad.”

D K Shivakumar, president of the State Congress, has joined the chorus of voices accusing the administration of attempting to rewrite history.

“Is it a humiliation to you to include Nehru Mr CM? You can’t change history. Other than being in jail, giving away his (Nehru) property, he was the first prime minister during whose tenure the Constitution and national flag came. He has given everything. I don’t know why you are doing it. This is not Karnataka’s culture,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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